How to Help New Parents

how to help new parents

I know that it seems like every single blogger who recently had a baby has written this type of blog post.  There are a few on some of those that I agree with, and some that I don’t, but here are things that I noticed from when we first had Autumn.  Since we’re now 8 and a half months into it, some of it might not be for the super fresh mom, but I’d say we’re still new parents.. I would call myself a new mom still anyway!

Here are some of the things that people did that really helped me:

1. Bring Food
One of the biggest blessings we received in Autumn’s first week of life was announced through a text message from one of my friends “I’m making cinnamon buns, would you like me to bring you some when they get out of the oven?”  OH MY GOODNESS YES PLEASE!  Not only were they delicious and amazing, but they were also hot out of the oven AND I could eat them with one hand while I nursed my baby.  A++++ friend right there.  I would go as far as to say that she was my angel that week.  But seriously, new parents are figuring stuff out, eating isn’t always at the highest priority and any and all food we received in that first month was a huge blessing for us.  We were very grateful for it.  And if you feel you are not a good cook/can’t bring food for any other reason:
1b. Bring COFFEE!
A fancy coffee please! Like a latte or a Starbucks something.  There were more than a few days where someone bringing me a coffee was a huge bright spot in the day (you know, other than my beautiful little baby, that is 😉 ).  Find out what the new mama’s favourite coffee drink from Starbucks is, and get that.  She’ll love you for it.

2. If you’re giving a gift/food, give a card
If your friend is like me and likes sending thank you cards for these kinds of things, she will be hugely grateful that you gave a card with your gift.  Bonus points if you write down in the card what your gift was.  A few months ago, I wrote out all the thank you cards for the gifts that I had cards for, and the ones that I could remember who didn’t give us a card… and I know I missed people.  I hate that!! I want to send everyone a thank you card because the gifts are so appreciated!  Alternatively, if you don’t give a card, don’t be upset if you don’t get a thank you card.  New parents have a lot going on, and sometimes forget to do simple things like brush their teeth (true story).  So if a new mom and dad forget who gave them that one sleeper.. it’s not their fault! They are sleep deprived and forgetful!  Know that they really appreciated your gift, and that they can’t wait to use it on their little one.
Also, the new thing is taking a picture of the baby in the clothes given or playing with the toy given, but it’s really hard to remember who gave what! If you give a card, you might even get this kind of picture! 😉

3. Don’t ask to hold the baby
Especially at first.  If there was one thing I could change about the first week or so of Autumn’s life it would be that I didn’t get to hold her enough.  No one really asked to hold the baby, but I felt like I was obligated to let people hold her… and I very often felt that I only got to hold her when she was upset or hungry.  Let the parents hold their baby when their baby is happy, too!!  And if you do get to hold the baby, don’t keep the baby for too long either!! Let it be a short visit, and get longer holds when the baby is older.  However…
3b. Ask how you can help
Chances are, she’d really like to go pee, or shower, or get herself some food.  If that’s the case, asking her if you can help in any way will probably mean holding the baby so that she can go do one of the above!  Win-win!  Also, if there’s something you notice needs to be done, offer to do that thing.. then do it.  I would personally be uncomfortable with other people doing my laundry, so I’d leave that one out, but with dishes or something like that?  It’s nice for the parents not to have to think about that.  ALSO, if they have a dog, offer to walk their dog!

4.  Don’t expect them to text you back right away
Sometimes I left my phone upstairs and I was nursing downstairs.  Sometimes I would read a text and then put down the phone to change a diaper and then forget for a couple of days. Oops! Please give your friend grace in this!

5. Visits
There are a few things to know about visiting a new mama and her baby.  Don’t just stop by, you never know if the baby just went down for a nap, or if there are breastfeeding struggles, or if she just got the baby latched and can’t physically get up to answer the door or… or… or… Just stopping by could be hugely stressful for the new mama, and she’s under enough stress as it is.  Plus, knowing when you’re coming over means that if she’s about to start feeding the baby, she can unlock the door so you can let yourself in.
Don’t stay too long.  Sometimes, even though it’s very early in the evening, a new mama might want to go for a quick nap while their baby is sleeping.  But she also wants to stay and visit with you, her friend.  If it’s a shorter visit, she can do both!
Arrive when you say you are going to arrive.  Especially in the first few weeks, sleep is precious.  If the baby gets to sleep, but someone is about to come over, the new mama might not go for a nap herself because someone is about to arrive.  If that person then doesn’t show up, that mama is missing out on sleep.  It’s kind of a big deal!
Ask what time works for the new parents for you to visit!  It’s more helpful to find out when works for them, instead of telling them when works for you.  As the day to day schedule is getting worked out, there are definitely some times that are better than others for a visit.  For example, in our first few months, Autumn and I got our best sleep in the mornings.  She would actually sleep in with me.  So, afternoons were a better time for us for people to visit.  If someone had just said “Hey, I’m coming over at 9:00am” I would have been pretty upset because then I’m losing out on sleep, and chances are so would Autumn.

6. Compliments!
This should probably go without saying, but as a new mama I kind of felt a little bit like a garbage pail human.  So, even though I didn’t fully believe them, I still liked it when people said I looked great.  It’s also nice to hear how adorable your baby is. 😉

How else can you help out new parents?

xoxo,
Alysa

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  1. People who don’t have children think that raising kids is easy. I once over heard this college kid saying that he would be a stay at home dad, and also work on building a business at the same time. What he doesn’t get is that if you have a baby, that is your full time job. Now time for anything.

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